What should I do when I receive an initial offer from the government or utility company for my property?

“Hold out, hire us.”  We like to be involved prior the time you receive the initial offer so that we can meet with the government’s appraiser.  This allows us to point out all of your concerns to encourage the government’s appraiser to complete a proper appraisal.

However, regardless of our efforts, the government’s initial offer for your property is usually lower that what you would like to receive and lower than what you can ultimately receive with informed negotiation and litigation.  Do not be afraid of a condemnation lawsuit.

Do not accept the first offer you receive; rather, reach out to an experienced attorney for help.  At Murray Law, we manage these cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we will only earn a percentage of any additional amount we help you obtain over the initial offer.  The initial offer always goes to you, never to attorney’s fees.  We like to be involved early in your case so that we can meet with the condemning authority’s appraiser and give them the right information to help make your initial offer as high as possible.  The higher your initial offer at the start of your case, logically, the higher the likely result through the lawsuit.

Attempting to negotiate the offer yourself carries risks.  The government wants to you stake yourself out at a lower number than what you may obtain with the assistance of an attorney.  The government takes notes on what you say and tries to use your statements against you.  We have heard from clients that government negotiators actively tell owners to avoid hiring attorneys.  Why? Because they know attorneys typically get more compensation for landowners, attorneys don’t accept the low first offers, and often a obtain a substantial amount more for landowners.

Never obtain your own appraisal prior to consulting with an eminent domain lawyer.  A bad appraisal can substantially harm your ability to negotiate or contest compensation in your case.